Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace.
(#1 Feb. 1, 2011; #2 March 26, 2011; #3 Oct. 15, 2012; #4 Sept. 8, 2013; #5 Nov. 30, 2014).
Thanks to Marc Quigley for steadfast technical support.

What’s at stake:

My blog:
War Department/Peace Department
See: OMNI ecology warming wars.doc, US military industrial complex, Douglas Fry, The Human Potential for Peace, The Seville Statement, War prevention, MORE

These newsletters are divided only very generally into Causes and Prevention because most authors examine the two subjects together.  Clear identification of the causes of wars is a significant step toward preventing them.   See War Prevention and Related Newsletters.

#5 at end

Contents of Causes of War Newsletter #6
A Taxonomy

Underlying Causes of Violence and War
Pilisuk and Rountree, Who Benefits from Global Violence and War

Two Books on the US
Scott, The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy
Ahmad, Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War

Media Control of Information
James R. Bennett (Dick), Control of Information in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography.
Meckler, 1987. 

Two Articles on US Corporate/Mainstream Media and Iran
Naureckas, Inciting War with Iran in the Washington Post and the NYT
Johnson, FBI Simulated ISIS Threat Enhanced by Media vs. Reality

Polk, History of Syrian Civil War

Escapism explains why the US Public Is Passive or Even Pro-War?

Google Search

Stanford University
In this chapter we provide a critical overview of the theory of war. In particular, we provide not just a taxonomy of causes of conflict, but also some insight into the necessity of and interrelation between different factors that lead to war.

The Hidden Structure of Violence
Who Benefits from Global Violence and War
by Marc Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree
304 pages  May 2015   e-book available!
Acts of violence assume many forms: they may travel by the arc of a guided missile or in the language of an economic policy, and they may leave behind a smoldering village or a starved child. The all-pervasive occurrence of violence makes it seem like an unavoidable, and ultimately incomprehensible, aspect of the human world, particularly in a modern era. But, in this detailed and expansive book, Marc Pilisuk and Jen Rountree demonstrate otherwise. Widespread violence, they argue, is in fact an expression of the underlying social order, and whether it is carried out by military forces or by patterns of investment, the aim is to strengthen that order for the benefit of the powerful.

The Hidden Structure of Violence marshals vast amounts of evidence to examine the costs of direct violence, including military preparedness and the social reverberations of war, alongside the costs of structural violence, expressed as poverty and chronic illness. It also documents the relatively small number of people and corporations responsible for facilitating the violent status quo, whether by setting the range of permissible discussion or benefiting directly as financiers and manufacturers. The result is a stunning indictment of our violent world and a powerful critique of the ways through which violence is reproduced on a daily basis, whether at the highest levels of the state or in the deepest recesses of the mind.

Because of its inter-disciplinary approach, The Hidden Structure of Violence will be valuable for scholars and students in a range of fields, but especially psychology, macro-economics, sociology, international relations, history, journalism, peace studies, military science, community development, and social change.

An encyclopedic and yet highly focused analysis of the causes and consequences of violence and wars … This is a sober book that nonetheless leaves us with hope for future generations.
—G. William Domhoff, author, Who Rules America?
One of the most comprehensive—and programmatic—discussions of the sources and nature of global violence in years.
—Tom Hayden, author, Inspiring Participatory Democracy

Marc Pilisuk teaches at Saybrook University and is Professor Emeritus of Human and Community Development at the University of California at Davis. He is a former president of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence and a steering committee member of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. He has published ten books and more than 140 articles over an academic career spanning five decades.

Jennifer Rountree is research manager at the National Indian Child Welfare Association in Portland, Oregon. She has a PhD in psychology from Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Francisco, California, and supports American Indian/Alaska Native tribes and urban Indian communities in community based participatory research.

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Sunday March 22nd, 2015, 11:50 am (EDT)

The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy by Peter Dale Scott.  Rowman and Littlefield, 2014.
Pages: 336
Series: War and Peace Library

This provocative book makes a compelling case for a hidden “deep state” that influences and often opposes official U.S. policies. Prominent political analyst Peter Dale Scott begins by tracing America’s increasing militarization, restrictions on constitutional rights, and income disparity since the Vietnam War. He argues that a significant role in this historic reversal was the intervention of a series of structural deep events, ranging from the assassination of President Kennedy to 9/11. He does not attempt to resolve the controversies surrounding these events, but he shows their significant points in common, ranging from overlapping personnel and modes of operation to shared sources of funding. Behind all of these commonalities is what Scott calls the deep state: a second order of government, behind the public or constitutional state, that has grown considerably stronger since World War II. He marshals convincing evidence that the deep state is partly institutionalized in non-accountable intelligence agencies like the CIA and NSA, but it also includes private corporations like Booz Allen Hamilton and SAIC, to which 70 percent of intelligence budgets are outsourced. Behind these public and private institutions is the traditional influence of Wall Street bankers and lawyers, allied with international oil companies beyond the reach of domestic law. With the importance of Gulf states like Saudi Arabia to oil markets, American defense companies, and Wall Street itself, this essential book shows that there is now a supranational deep state, sometimes demonstrably opposed to both White House policies and the American public interest.

The Road to Iraq
The Making of a Neoconservative War
Publication Date:
Jun 2014
234 x 156 mm
256 pages
3 bw Ill.
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A rigorous investigation into the socio-political milieu that produced the Iraq war
Despite all that has been written on it, the Iraq war – its causes, agency and execution – has been shrouded in an ideological mist. Now, Muhammad Idrees Ahmad dispels the myths surrounding the war, taking a sociological approach to establish the war’s causes, identify its agents and describe how it was sold.
Ahmad presents a social history of the war’s leading agents – the neoconservatives – and shows how this ideologically coherent group of determined political agents used the contingency of 9/11 to overwhelm a sceptical foreign policy establishment, military brass and intelligence apparatus, propelling the US into a war that a significant portion of the public opposed. The book includes an historical exploration of American militarism and of the increased post-WWII US role in the Middle East, as well as a reconsideration of the debates that John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt sparked after the publication of The Israel lobby and US Foreign Policy.


James R. Bennett, Control of Information in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography.  Meckler, 1987. 
Many of the 2943 entries deal with the mainstream media and how they are used and abused by corporations, government, the presidency (public relations, secrecy, censorship, disinformation, cover-up), and how the media initiate abuse independently or in complicity.   For example, the section “Washington Press Corps” gives 22 entries showing in varying degrees how the mainstream media in matters of war and peace function as a department of government.  The section on the Pentagon provides 193 entries on four areas of information control:  militarism; public relations, media, recruiting; education and research; and secrecy, censorship, disinformation, cover-up.


Mar30, 2015
Leading Papers Incite ‘Supreme International Crime’
By Jim Naureckas 11 Comments  [Appeared in Extra! (May 2015) as “Op-Ed Calls for War Are Incitements to a Terrible Crime.  –Dick]
 War op-eds in NYT, WaPo
Op-eds in the Washington Post (left) and New York Timescalled for unprovoked military attacks on Iran.
After the New York Timesprinted John Bolton’s “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran” (3/26/15FAIR Blog, 3/26/15), following theWashington Postpublishing Joshua Muravchik’s “War With Iran Is Probably Our Best Option” (3/13/15), veteran investigative reporter Robert Parry made an excellent point (Consortium News3/28/15):
If two major newspapers in, say, Russia published major articles openly advocating the unprovoked bombing of a country, say, Israel, the US government and news media would be aflame with denunciations about “aggression,” “criminality,” “madness” and “behavior not fitting the 21st century.”
But when the newspapers are American – the New York Times and the Washington Post – and the target country is Iran, no one in the US government and media bats an eye. These inflammatory articles – these incitements to murder and violation of international law – are considered just normal discussion in the Land of Exceptionalism.
Advocating for war is not like advocating for most other policies because, as peace activist David Swanson points out, war is a crime. It was outlawed in 1928 by the Kellogg-Briand Pact, in which the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Britain, Germany, France, Japan and 55 other nations “condemn[ed] recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce[d] it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.”
Nuremberg defendants
Defendants at Nuremberg were found guilty and hanged for carrying out the policies advocated by the Washington Post andNew York Times op-ed pages.
Kellogg-Briand was the basis for the “crimes against peace” indictment at the Nuremberg Trials for Nazi leaders, several of whom were hanged for “planning, preparation, initiation, or waging a war of aggression.” At Nuremberg, chief US prosecutor Robert H. Jackson declared:
To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.
The spirit of Kellogg-Briand was embodied in the formation of the United Nations, whose charter commits its signers to renouncing war and the threat of war:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.
So to advocate for war, as the Washington Post and New York Times op-ed pages have done, is to incite a crime–“the supreme international crime,” as Jackson noted. How would we react if leading papers were to run articles suggesting that genocide was the best solution to an international conflict–or that lynching is the answer to domestic problems? Calling for an unprovoked military attack against another nation is in the same category of argument.

The Washington Post can be reached at  letters@washpost.com   or viaTwitter @washingtonpost. The New York Times‘ email is :letters@nytimes.com and Twitter account is @nytimes. Remember that respectful communication is most effective.
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Apr 012015
Media Inflate Threat With ‘ISIS Plots’ That Don’t Actually Involve ISIS.  [The print version of this article is entitled “Media Now Offering ‘ISIS Plots’ That Are 100% ISIS-Free!,” Extra! (May 2015). –Dick]
CNN: Suspects 'Accused of ISIS Support'
Actually, the suspects were accused of conspiring to support ISIS–a significantly different legal charge.
Last Friday, the FBI announced another harrowing, 11th-hour capture of Americans plotting to join “ISIS” and launch attack within the United States. The case of two Illinois men, Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds and his cousin Jonas Edmonds, ostensibly involved the former going to Syria to join ISIS there while the latter stayed in the US, plotting to attack “scores” at a military base.
Right on cue, the American media publish dressed-up FBI press releases about the “disrupted” plot, complete with balaclava-wearing stock photos: “FBI Disrupts Plot to Kill Scores at Military Base on Behalf of Islamic State” was theWashington Post‘s headline (3/26/15).
These outlets, as usual,  omitted the rather awkward fact that this “ISIS plot” did not actually involve anyone in ISIS: At no point was there any material contact between anyone in ISIS and the Edmond cousins. There was, as thecriminal complaint  lays out, lots of contact between the Edmond cousins and what they thought was ISIS, but at no point was there any contact with ISIS–the designated terror organization that the US is currently launching airstrikes against.
This distinction may seem like semantics, but it’s actually quite important when trying to accurately inform the public–only 40 percent of whom read past the headlines–about the reality of the ISIS threat vs. the fear-inducing media spectacle that so often inflates it.
MSNBC reports an “ISIS plot” that never was.
While less sensational press like the Washington Postand the New York Timesare careful to avoid calling the sting operations “ISIS plots,” many outlets turn misdirection to explicit misrepresentation: ThisMSNBC headline (3/26/15) is fairly typical of how the reader is misled into thinking ISIS is actually involved in these arrests:
National Guard Soldier, Cousin Charged With ISIS Plot
The Edmond cousins weren’t actually charged with an ISIS plot.  They were charged with attempting to hatch an ISIS plot, but they are not accused of having any contact with ISIS whatsoever.
In a political environment where only a slight majority (54 percent) currently support the ongoing war effort against ISIS in Iraq and Syria–and soonpotentially dozens of other countries–this sleight-of-hand has subtle but tremendous propaganda value. The specter of ISIS constantly trying to enlist dozens of Americans, often for attacks on US soil, is a crucial element in maintaining the current war effort. The media’s inability to point out that these “plots” are almost always entirely of the FBI’s making helps perpetuate the illusion and inflate perceived risk.
John Knefel  noted recently in the New Republic (3/24/15) the gap between our perception of the ISIS threat and the reality:
The likelihood of Al Qaeda or ISIS launching a massive attack inside the United States is “infinitesimal,” according to the Washington Post, yet a recent poll found 86 percent of Americans now see ISIS as a threat to U.S. security.
That perception, however, is based largely on a myth. The Triangle Center’sreport states that publicly available information does “not indicate widespread recruitment of Muslim-Americans by transnational terrorist organizations to engage in attacks in the United States, or sophisticated planning by the handful of individuals who have self-radicalized.”
Fox News: The Lure of ISIS
Contrary to Fox News, these suspects were not lured by ISIS, but by the FBI.
This trope is also present when reporting on the much-hyped “ISIS social media” army. In a  piece headlined “The Lure of ISIS,”  Fox News (12/16/14) used two cases, that of Abdella Tounisi and Basit Javed Sheikh, as evidence of Syrian jihadists’ social media appeal–without mentioning that fact that both men, according to the FBI’s own complaints, interfaced almost entirely with FBI-created “jihadi” social media:
The cases involve individuals from all across the country, from Florida to Minnesota to Colorado. They underscore the challenge US law enforcement continue to face, as well as the global reach of recruiters and propagandists from ISIS and other groups.
But the case of Tounisi and Sheikh cannot “underscore the global reach of ISIS recruiters and propagandists,” since the only recruiters and propagandists these men met online were the FBI’s “OCE”–Online Covert Employees. In the case of Abdella Tounisi, the FBI went so far as to create an entire fake Al-Nusra website, complete with a fake Al-Nusra training video and a fake Al-Nusra email list, as the DOJ’s complaint explained.
Basit Javed Sheikh, the 29-year-old North Carolina man, was duped using an FBI-created “Al-Nusra” Facebook page set up by a female FBI employee posing as an “Al-Nusra nurse” in Syria. The “nurse” persona would have other social media accounts, as well as an “Al-Nusra” Facebook page complete with extremist messages, videos, pictures and content–all created by the FBI.
Would Tounisi and Sheikh have sought other “recruiters” online? It’s impossible to say. (Also important to note that Sheikh had fallen in love with the “Al-Nusra nurse” FBI persona, who allegedly promised him marriage in Syria.) But what is clear is that FBI-created extremist social media isn’t evidence that extremist social media is helping recruit Americans for ISIS or Al-Nusra. But media treat FBI ruses that simulate terrorist activities as evidence that the crimes the FBI is ostensibly seeking to prevent are actually happening.
The New York Daily News (3/9/15) would take this perverse logic to a comical extreme last month with this goofy headline:
Daily News: 'ISIS in B'klyn'
ISIS was not, of course, in Brooklyn. FBI agents posing as ISIS were. This isn’t a matter of emphasis–it’s a matter of reality.

Adam Johnson, a freelance journalist, was a founder of the hardware startup Brightbox. You can follow him on Twitter at @adamjohnsonnyc.

Understanding Syria: From Pre-Civil War to Post-Assad.  WILLIAM R. POLK. The Atlantic,  DEC 10, 2013.
How drought, foreign meddling, and long-festering religious tensions created the tragically splintered Syria we know today.
www.theatlantic.com/international/.../12/...war.../281989/‎ - The Atlantic

     A great achievement of the human brain is its capacity to compare, to think proportionately, to prioritize, estimate and foresee, and eventually to choose and act.   Two recent books on escapism forget this, or are strangely indifferent to it.    Y-Fu Tuan’s Escapism is particularly disabled by its topsy-turvy, random discussion of the subject.  It’s a collection of tid-bits, knickknacks of escapism as though he died before assessing his raw material, and some enterprising publisher saw it would sell to the apparently boundless, hopelessly escapist consumers.  He never asks what’s important, which requires asking: what are the urgent issues facing his readers and the world?  The book is not even arranged in useful encyclopedic alphabetical order.  Tuan is like your neighbor who, when the neighborhood is already on fire from a raging forest fire, and the fire department is already overwhelmed, gathers up his stamp collection.  Ironically, the book is a supreme example of escapism.
     A more thoughtful book is This Virtual Life, Escapism and Simulation in Our Media World by Andrew Evans, but like Tuan, Evans makes little effort to evaluate and distinguish the trivial from the significant, and in that effete or feckless spirit his book also becomes escape. 
     We don’t have the luxury of endless escapist pat-a-cake.  At least older people, adults, must ask, and must act: What are the most crucial, urgent matters for our civilization, for humanity and all species, for our planet?  Surely a list of the top five would include under the topic of war:  imperialism, militarism, and above all nuclear weapons.  Evans’ Index doesn’t even mention them.  War is discussed in his brief section on Catch-22, but it just illustrates again the randomness of his book, when the US has invaded or intervened unnecessarily and illegally in over 50 countries since WWII, and in the process killed tens of millions of people, and continues to fine tune its nuclear arsenal.
     And that top five list would surely include global warming and climate change as #1, even in 2001, when his book was published, after two reports from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  By then the overwhelming majority of scientists and national science centers had affirmed the fact of anthropogenic C02 increases causing warming and climate change.  Yet Evans barely mentions the catastrophes rushing toward us (or our rapid population increases rushing us to embrace them).  He does acknowledge the CIA’s dire 2001 forecast for 2015, which includes the consequences of global warming—“water shortages and even wars” (227).   But the recognition is only a detail in another subject.   We have to ask, what was really important to Evans that would turn merely recreational into meaningful, significant reading?  Escapism, well yes, but which, which should we concentrate on if we are to prevent the worst.   Thomas Hardy wrote in a poem: “…if better there be/it exacts a look at the worst.”  But Evans’ bric-a-brac approach doesn’t help us identify either present or future catastrophes and their escapisms. 
     At a public discussion of Tuan and Evans’ book, several in the audience repeatedly pointed out the obvious dysfunctions of our society and the ways people avoided doing anything about them.  They were wringing their hands.  If Tuan and Evans had done their job properly (and the audience had read the books), the audience would have attended in the spirit of Mother Jones, the great labor organizer, who declared, “Don’t mourn, organize!” 
     Of course I mean, if the authors had written their books with political purpose, with the idea of changing the dysfunctional structures of our society making wars and warming (and other chief catastrophes).   But their purpose was not political but psychological—telling us the many ways people, we in the discussion, distract ourselves or are distracted from the crucial world problems.  In this they were successful.  I reached home that afternoon with a keener awareness of my various disempowering choices and habits.  And just perhaps that awareness will lead from futile hand-wringing to changing the system.
CAUSES OF WARS, Google Search, May 19, 2015
University of Hawaii
by RJ Rummel - ‎Cited by 375 - ‎Related articles
War arises because of the changing relations of numerous variables--technological, psychic, social, and intellectual. There is no single cause of war. Peace is ...
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 Rating: 4.4 - ‎5 reviews
Blainey, a conservative social historian, writes one of the best non-ideological, empirically based analyses of why nation-states go to war -- and peace. Logically, the causes for going to war should be mirrored in the reasons why nations make peace at the end of war.
Stanford University
by MO Jackson - ‎Cited by 51 - ‎Related articles
In this chapter we provide a critical overview of the theory of war. In particular, we provide not just a taxonomy of causes of conflict, but also some insight into the necessity of and interrelation between different factors that lead to war.
Pages in category "Causes of war". The following 36 pages are in this category, out of 36 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
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Having said this, some conflicts tend to lean towards some causes more than others. The current war in Afghanistan is predominantly a result of conflicting ...
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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)